The life of a poet is a notoriously tough one…
Whatever about the struggle to make an actual living, the poet must exist outside the room, outside the relationship, outside the family, always looking in. Observing. Scribbling. Rhyming. Divining.
And sometimes, they have to live outside the town they really, really wish they dwelt. Such is the loneliness of the long distance poet.
Which might just be the case for ageing Dublin wit and cartoonist Tom Mathews – think Ed Reardon if Leon Redbone was his hairdresser – as his new poem takes a potshot at Greystones.
Did he fail to find shelter at the inn here? Did The Happy Pear not cough up one of their free pass-in-on coffees? Or maybe he’s just never been invited to any of our parties…?
Whatever the reason, Tom has some strange ideas about Greystones and its people. We all drive Volvos, apparently. And we microwave quiches for our hairless, collarless cats. Ooh, and we’d be pretty darn upset ‘if a black moved in’.
All strong, powerful stuff. If generally bollox.
Available in the new Dedalus poetry journal The Level Crossing, you can get your print or online edition right about here.
As one local wag said (hi, Martin!), as a poet, Mathews makes a damn fine cartoonist.
Take it away, Tom…
Na Clocha Liath
Microwaving quiches for hairless collarless cats
See the Lidl nouveaux-riches aristocrats
Setting up the sundial that cost the moon and the stars
Or hoovering out the Volvo, labrador of cars.
Tinkling sprinklers’ shadows thicken,
Urban foxes’ pulses quicken
To the Bombay Pantry chicken,
Couriered in from town afar.
Watch the heron swooping from the roof beyond
Scooping up the koi carp from the IKEA pond,
Father plies the flymo, goodness what a din!
Mother adds a tranche of lime to everybody’s gin.
Watch the war in Serbia
On Sky News in suburbia.
Wouldn’t it disturbia
If a black moved in?
DVDs of D-Day, gardening, and Yeats,
Mauve bath and bidet, electric garden gates,
Byrne and Fallon rocket salad, Earl Grey tea.
It isn’t rocket science, surely anyone can see
How in a village set apart
From Dublin city’s dusty heart
And yet conveniuent to the DART’s
The place for me